Monday, 16 April 2007

Shortbread with Chocolate Bits

There was no hesitation when I launched into this mini baking session around midnight. I had a craving and it was keeping me awake so I knew exactly what I had to make - a very tender and flaky shortbread with a melt-in-your-mouth quality.

A good shortbread recipe is indispensable as it works as an excellent base for additions like candied fruit, nuts, toffee bits or whatever that may take your fancy. I decided on little bits of dark chocolate in the end. I was tempted to add some grated orange rind to the dough simply because I adore the orange-chocolate combination but then I thought it could also work to have the dough rolled and cut out into shapes (I had 5-pointed stars in mind), drizzled lightly with an orange glaze and adorned with silver dragee.

However, I discovered much shortly after this vision of grandeur, my enthusiasm wanes as quickly as it peaks after midnight so I ended up with rustic looking shortbread fingers which I thought had their very own appeal and quite frankly, don't taste the least bit shabby at all.

250g unsalted butter, soft
80g icing sugar, sifted
300g flour
75g cornflour
pinch of salt
75g almond meal (optional)
100g dark chocolate (min 55%), chopped

(makes one 6X10 inch pan)
preheat oven to 160C and place a rack in the center of the oven.
sift flour and cornflour into a bowl and icing sugar into a separate bowl.
cream butter until soft and creamy then add icing sugar and salt and beat for another minute or so until combined.
add flour mixture and chocolate bits (and almond meal, if using), mix until a smooth dough forms.
pat the dough evenly into the pan.
bake until the top and bottom are lightly browned, about 40-45 minutes.
cut shortbread with a very thin, sharp knife into fingers while warm. (Note: cookies will not slice well when cold)

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